It’s Friday night and you have nothing better to do so you and your friends go out to drink the night away. You drink one shot after another and you are having a blast. After a few more beers, you decide to go home.
You know driving drunk is not a good idea, but you do it anyway. What could go wrong? After all, it is the wee hours in the morning. It took only a few seconds before you realize you are in big trouble. You hit a post.
Getting drunk may sound fun, but drink driving is not. Statistics say that three people get killed every two hours due to car crashes related to alcohol. As someone who deserves to have a drink or two every now and then, you should also remember to do so responsibly and consider all the negative health impacts of drink driving before you pick up that next bottle.
Drinking Age Start At 10th Grade
Based on statistics from Moms Against Drunk Driving, drinking among Americans can start as early as 10th grade. This is quite bothersome, as the risk of drunk driving can also start at this age. They may not be allowed to drive legally; however, the lack of a driver’s license will not be an assurance that they will not use a car when they their hands on one.
Drunk Driving and Deaths
Over 4 million drivers are reported to be driving drunk at least once in a year. This translates to over 112 million drunk driving episodes. 81% of these drunk-driving cases are men. Sadly, only 2,800 cases end in arrests.
In 2016, the tally for individuals who died due to drunk driving reached 10,497. This equates to one person dying every minute. Those who were injured due to the same reason were tallied to over 290,000.
Adults are not only the victims of drunk driving crashes, but also minors and children. Over 1,149 kids, who were younger than 14 years old, died due to vehicle crashes in 2013. 17% of the 1,149 deaths happened due to crashes caused by alcohol-impaired driving. 61% of the total number of children deaths were occupants of the vehicles, whose driver had high blood alcohol content (BAC). 15% were innocent bystanders, pedestrians or pedal-cyclists, whom the drunk drivers struck.
Effects of Alcohol
Drivers need all their senses to be functional in order to get to where they need to be. In addition, they need to be fully aware of their surroundings, especially if they have passengers with them.
A 0.08% grams per deciliter or higher blood alcohol content or BAC is considered as alcohol-impaired. This means that you are too drunk to drive. Therefore, you are considered as driving under the influence when the police pull you over after a night of partying. You may be having fun drinking at the bar, but once you have reached your limit, you will end up regretting getting drunk.
Alcohol has several effects such as:
- Slow reaction time. Alcohol has an effect of slowing down the body’ reflexes. This can affect the driver’s ability to quickly react when needed.
- Limited vision. When drunk, alcohol can alter eye movements, change visual perception and blur vision.
- Tracking. Drunk drivers also have a problem tracking their car’s location on the road. In addition, they will have trouble tracking other vehicles, road lines and signs.
- Lack of concentration. Alcohol causes the driver to lose concentration due to drowsiness.
- Comprehension. When drivers get drunk, their judgment becomes cloudy. As a result, they are unable to make rational decisions that can cause problems later on.
- Coordination. Lastly, excessive alcohol consumption can reduce hand, eye and foot coordination, making it difficult to drive.
Health Risks of Drunk Driving and Alcohol
Alcohol dependency and liver cirrhosis are not the only health issues related to too much alcohol consumption. Based on several studies, alcoholism can cause over 60 types of diseases. Some of the diseases associated with alcoholism include:
- Anemia – Too much drinking can lead to a decrease in red blood cells. This can cause a person to feel lightheaded, fatigued and short of breath.
- Cardiovascular diseases – Binge drinking causes platelets to stick together and form blood clots. This can lead to strokes as well as heart attacks.
- Gout – Gout is a painful health condition that is due to uric acid crystal formation in our joints. Alcohol consumption can aggravate the condition of gout.
- High blood pressure – Heavy drinking can cause blood pressure to increase. In the long run, this condition may be long-lasting and eventually lead to other heart and kidney problems.
The risks of alcohol and drunk driving are far too many compared to a few hours of numbing happiness. Before you decide to get go to the bar and get drunk tonight, bring a designated driver or use Hailo, an app that hails taxis for you when you cannot.
Irene Wall has been writing about law for more than a decade. She writes pieces on various law topics that she hopes could help the common reader with their concerns. She enjoys playing basketball with her sons during her free time.
Image 2- Marco Verch